Category Archives: Macroeconomics

Redacted Version of the October 2014 FOMC Statement

September 2014 October 2014 Comments Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in July suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. No change. This is another overestimate by the […]

The Butterfly Machine

There’s a phenomenon called the Butterfly Effect.  One common quotation is “It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.” Today I am here to tell you that for that to be true, the entire world would have to be […]

Mantra: Interest Rates Have to Rise, Interest Rates Have to…

I thought of structuring this post like a fictional story, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it good enough for publication.  Well, truth is often stranger than fiction, so have a look at this Bloomberg article pointing at a 37% loss in the ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury (TBT). A few points to start […]

Numerator vs Denominator

Every now and then, a piece of good news gets announced, and then something puzzling happens.  Example: the GDP report comes out stronger than expected, and the stock market falls.  People scratch their heads and say, “Huh?” A friend of mine who I haven’t heard from in a while, Howard Simons, astutely would comment something […]

Volatility Can Be Risk, At Rare Times

There is a saying in the markets that volatility is not risk. In general this is true, and helps to explain why measures like beta and standard deviation of returns do not measure risk, and are not priced by the market. After all, risk is the probability of losing money, and the severity thereof. It’s […]

Redacted Version of the September 2014 FOMC Statement

July 2014 September 2014 Comments Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that growth in economic activity rebounded in the second quarter. Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in July suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. This is another overestimate by the FOMC. […]

The Victors Write the History Books, Even in Finance

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you, it’s what you know that ain’t so.” (Attributed to Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Satchel Paige, Charles Farrar Browne, Josh Billings, and a number of others) A lot of what passes for investment knowledge is history-dependent, and may not serve us well in the future.  Further, a certain […]